“Sixty-percent of Filipinos live in the coastal areas,” said Joan Castro, executive vice president of PATH Foundation Philippines, Inc., in an interview with ECSP, and dwindling fish stocks are an issue across the archipelago. “With increasing population, the food that goes on the table for a lot of families in these coastal communities was an issue, so food security was the theme of the IPOPCORM project.”
IPOPCORM (standing for “integrated population and coastal resource management”) was started in 2000 and ran for six years. It sought to address population, health, and the environment (PHE) issues together in rural, coastal areas of the Philippines.
The PATH Foundation worked with local governments and NGOs to establish a community-based family planning system while also strengthening local resource management. The results showed a decrease in unmet need for family planning and also improved income among youth in the remote areas they worked in.
Today, Castro also serves as the PHE technical assistance lead of the Building Actors and Leaders for Advancing Community Excellence in Development (BALANCED) project – a USAID initiative transferring PHE know-how to regions of East Africa and Asia.